Family satisfaction in the intensive care unit: what makes the difference?
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To assess family satisfaction in the ICU and to identify parameters for improvement.
Multicenter study in Swiss ICUs. Families were given a questionnaire covering overall satisfaction, satisfaction with care and satisfaction with information/decision-making. Demographic, medical and institutional data were gathered from patients, visitors and ICUs.
A total of 996 questionnaires from family members were analyzed. Individual questions were assessed, and summary measures (range 0–100) were calculated, with higher scores indicating greater satisfaction. Summary score was 78 ± 14 (mean ± SD) for overall satisfaction, 79 ± 14 for care and 77 ± 15 for information/decision-making. In multivariable multilevel linear regression analyses, higher severity of illness was associated with higher satisfaction, while a higher patient:nurse ratio and written admission/discharge criteria were associated with lower overall satisfaction. Using performance-importance plots, items with high impact on overall satisfaction but low satisfaction were identified. They included: emotional support, providing understandable, complete, consistent information and coordination of care.
Overall, proxies were satisfied with care and with information/decision-making. Still, several factors, such as emotional support, coordination of care and communication, are associated with poor satisfaction, suggesting the need for improvement.
KeywordsPatient care Intensive care unit Professional–family relation Quality indicators Communication Consumer satisfaction
We would like to acknowledge the work of local coordinators and staff in all participating units, and to thank them for their cooperation. Further we acknowledge financial support by the Krokus Foundation, Basel, Switzerland; AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Company, Grafenauweg 10, 6300 Zug, Switzerland; Section for Quality Management, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Therapy, and Department of Intensive Care Medicine, all three at Bern University Hospital, Inselspital, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.
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